Sept. 19, 2003
San Jose State's
Neil Parry:

Competing with a prosthetic right leg, Parry made his inspirational return from devastating injury last Thursday night, lining up on punt coverage.
 
 
 
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:
UPSET.  SPECIAL.

Who's Maurice Clarett?

Ohio State QB Craig Krenzel is the biggest reason the Buckeyes keep winning. And if he sits Saturday with that elbow injury, underrated Bowling Green will put the most prized of BCS pelts on the wall of the Mighty MAC.

(Check out four other Upset Specials in the Big 5, right.)

NFL Subplots
As if your gambling addiction fantasy team wasn't reason enough to watch:

Two's for real? Of the 2-0 teams playing Sunday, Seattle most needs the cred of another W (vs. the revived Rams).

Mercy rule: The Bucs own the Falcons anyway, but coming off a brutal loss?

RB vs. RB: '02 sensation LaDainian Tomlinson in a monster stat-watch vs. '03 early star Jamal Lewis.

Panic button: Of the oh-fer teams staring at oh-blivion, the Jets and Browns are feeling the most pressure.

SpitGate: Ah, manufactured drama -- the best kind. Bills don't need it to smear the Fins.

Sweep Home, Chicago
Calling the AL Central race! After sweeping the rival White Sox in a de facto playoff, the Twins have locked up the division. Not mathematically, of course, but "common sensically." A literally graphic representation of the Twins' remaining schedule:

9/19   Tigers
9/20   Tigers
9/21   Tigers
9/23   Indians
9/24   Indians
9/25   Tigers
9/26   Tigers
9/27   Tigers
9/28   Tigers
The final AL Central margin (now 3.5 games) won't even be close.

Sweep Dreams, Seattle
You could label the Mariners "done," too: Except they play

THE BRAVES CLINCH AGAIN, A NATION YAWNS
THE SET-UP: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW FOR TODAY
1 NFL Sunday Night: Bills/Dolphins; too much spit-talkin'
2 BCS spotlight: Mich/Ore, UCLA/Okla, Colo/Fla St
3 MLB playoff races: Sea at Oak (AL); Fla at Atl (NL)
THE SIT-DOWN: DROP THESE FROM YOUR HOT LIST
1 Isabel: Didn't stop 63K from watching VaTech's big win
2 Shanahan's lie: Complicit NFL OK with his explanation
3 Jamal Tinsley: Pacers close to signing Kenny Anderson
 
Oakland 6 of their last 9. With that many head-to-heads, a miracle is possible, but there's no margin for error -- nothing less than a six-pack sweep. Meaning: Even one Oakland win this weekend, and the M's are toast. (Wild Card? Ha, that's a good one.)

NL Central Watch
Winning your division is overrated (hello, Atlanta): Just get to the postseason any way you can. While the Marlins and Phillies beat up on each other three more times next week, watch the Cubs surge into the Wild Card lead with that Charmin-soft schedule (Pirates, Reds, Pirates).

Women's World Cup
With reports that the WUSA is being revived, those sympathetic early-week obituaries now read merely like tools of the year's riskiest p.r. stunt.

So even though the World Cup likely won't have the emotion of a "Farewell Tour" for U.S. players, they are still a lock to win. Two more locks:

* National interest will surge, much like '99.
* Dumb investors, blinded by that interest, will throw good money after bad.

Miss America
What does it say that the Miss America pageant is significantly

more enduring than America's women's pro soccer league?

For starters, that men ogling hotties in swimsuits is an iron-clad tradition, along with women making catty comments while scoring at home. (WUSA investors, take note: Don't run the revived version like a sports league; run it like a reality-TV series.)

The pick to win it all on Saturday night (8 p.m., ABC): Miss Virginia (Nancy Redd), who won the preliminary swimsuit competition, went to Harvard and won $250,000 on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire."

Emmys Preview
If you're getting thumped in your office's weekly NFL pool, there's still time to deliver your Emmy pool ballot to the office pop-culture freak. Watch these in the big categories: Curb, West Wing, Jenny Garner (heart) ... Edie Falco (head), Peter Krause, Patty Heaton, Larry David.

The P.R. Expos:
You screwed me again, Costanza: MLB proposes putting the Expos in Puerto Rico for 22 games again next season. So much for settling down.
 
 
Today on ESPN.com
P2: Simmons on the Curse
IN: College football reports
NFL: Game of the Week
 
Ranking: Weekend's CFB upsets
B-Green over Ohio St
IF OSU QB Krenzel sits out
 
Marshall over K-State
Mildcats (6) a house-o-cards
 
Colorado over FSU
'Noles no No. 9
 
Florida over Tenn
Gators always own Vols
 
LSU over Georgia
Yes, Bayou Bengals for real
 

W3 office-pool suggestions: PIT, KC, MIN, TB, IND, TEN, NE, GB, STL, WAS, SF, BAL, BUF (LW: 8-8; Season: 17-15) ...

Maybe a Michigan (5) blowout win at Oregon (22) will finally get them some Duckin' respect in the rankings ....

Scariest story of the week: There was a plot to kill Kobe's accuser? Yikes ...

That profs knew about Auburn's old pay-for-play scandal and didn't say anything says a lot about faculty integrity at the school ...

Still alive in knockout pool: Week 3 pick -- Green Bay (over Cardinals) ...



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